Naturopathic Medicine is a primary healthcare system that treats people suffering from symptoms of acute and chronic illness.
The primary belief of this medicine is that the human body is capable of healing itself given the right conditions.
To create the right conditions, the body must have:
♥ all that it needs to thrive, including food, air, hydration, sleep, physical movement, mental calm, social interaction and a belief in something greater than oneself,
♥ a clean internal and external environment, and
♥ a balanced vital force.
By establishing the conditions for health in the body, it is able to heal itself.
Naturopathic Medicine addresses the source of illness and promotes the body’s own natural healing abilities.
This medicine is a separate and distinct approach to medicine. The Naturopathic Doctor does not directly treat disease. They encourage the body to treat “disease” by its restoration to health, in other words, the body heals itself.
Naturopathic Medicine is safe and cost-effective.
Naturopathic doctors seek to do no harm by using methods and substances that minimize risks of side effects, using the least force needed to diagnose and treat, avoiding the harmful suppression of symptoms and working with the self-healing process.
Naturopathic doctors seek to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness. This is done through the restoration of or creation of the proper conditions for health as the primary underlying cause of all illness is an unhealthy system.
Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent healing process in each person that is ordered and intelligent. The role of the naturopathic doctor is to help a person remove obstacles to healing and to stimulate the healing ability of their body.
Naturopathic doctors recall that the origin of the word “doctor” is the Latin word, “to teach.” A fundamental emphasis in naturopathic medicine is patient education. The goal is that each person who works with an ND learns how to create their own health.
The human is mind, body and spirit. Imbalance in any of these spheres can create the conditions for disease and illness. Naturopathic doctors take into consideration all the factors that make up a person’s life and status of health.
It is easier to maintain health than it is to reestablish the conditions for health, or in common language, be cured of a disease. In this paradigm of medicine, there is great emphasis on each moment being one of choice. Everything we do creates either more or less health. Everything.
Naturopathic Doctors attend a nationally accredited four-year, graduate-level naturopathic medical school.
Enrollment in naturopathic medical school requires a bachelor’s degree and completion of medical school prerequisite classes, similar to conventional allopathic and osteopathic medical schools.
Each state currently maintains the authority to regulate and license Naturopathic Doctors. Licensure ensures that only qualified individuals can call themselves a Naturopathic Doctor.
In a state that offers licensure, Naturopathic Doctors are able to serve the community in a primary care capacity. They work with community MD’s, DO’s and ARNP’s to provide well-rounded and comprehensive healthcare.
ND services in these states are often reimbursed by insurance carriers and they are able to prescribe necessary medications within the Naturopathic Pharmaceutical Formulary.
In states where NDs have been licensed for many years, they often work in collaboration with medical doctors, and routinely refer patients to each other for optimum management of a patient’s healthcare.
Most Naturopathic Doctors provide primary care natural medicine through office or virtual-based, private practice.
If you are looking for a Naturopathic Doctor in a state that does not offer licensure, please be sure that who you are seeking treatment from is qualified to provide the level of healthcare you need.
For more information about accredited Naturopathic Medical Schools in North America, please visit the AANMC (Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges).
Currently, 17 states, five Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia, and the US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands all have laws regulating NDs. In these states and provinces, naturopathic doctors are required to graduate from a four-year, residential naturopathic medical school and pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license.
Licensed States: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington.
Read more about licensure at AANMC.
The Princeton Review’s, “Best 168 Medical Schools, 2007 Edition” includes med school applicant information and advice, as well as a chapter which profiles each of the six naturopathic medical schools.
One excerpt comparing and contrasting the three major medical fields’ states: “Naturopathic physicians (NDs) take a holistic approach to healing, and aim to cure disease by taking advantage of the body’s self-regenerative powers and harnessing the restorative power of nature. Like osteopaths, naturopathic physicians endeavor to treat the whole person by taking into account the emotional, genetic, and environmental factors that have influenced their state of health. Unlike osteopaths, however, naturopathic physicians emphasize natural remedies. NDs also differ from allopaths (MDs); rather than limiting their treatment to synthetic drugs and invasive procedures, NDs predominantly utilize natural medicines and procedures. Naturopathic physicians work to identify and eliminate the cause of disease, and are guided by six basic principles:
Excerpted from “Best 168 Medical Schools, 2007 Edition” Chapter 3 So You Still Want to Be a Doctor, p. 24 By Malaika Stoll, The Princeton Review.
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